Did you know one third of start-ups in the Arab world are spearheaded by women? That's (reportedly) a higher percentage than in Silicon Valley. The region's female workforce are certainly no slouches when it comes to building things of their own, and there's no more deserving a poster girl for it all than Huda Kattan.
The Business of Fashion clearly think so, too, which is why the beauty blogger-turned-behemoth (her empire is now worth $1.2 billion) has found herself on the print-edition cover of this industry totem, in their 'Modern Entrepreneurs' issue. "Entrepreneurs are the new rock stars," they say. And while they rock on, we're all ears...
1. Create what people want before they know they want it
À la Steve Jobs, according to Huda. If only it were that easy, eh? But the takeaway point here is to be the wave rather than ride the crest of it. There's more than a bit of zeitgeist-shaped intuition needed, yes, but we'd also wager that fearlessness and total, unwavering belief in your idea is just as crucial. "I think people don't always know what they want right away," Huda reveals. Take note of that confidence.
2. Go to the edge
"Our first product that I feel like I really let my creativity out was our Samantha lashes when I told our manufacturers I wasn't going to use anything they were going to give me anymore, I was going to make it," Huda explains. It's the entrepreneurial equivalent of "If you want something done right, do it yourself," but is also testament to pushing boundaries, broadening your skill set and never stopping educating yourself.
3. Silence your inner critic... sometimes
"There's an inner voice that criticises you and makes you afraid to express yourself," Huda says. And while we encourage the philosophy of having the exact same level of confidence as your pretty average white man, we'd also like to add - if we may - that a judicious sprinkling of self-criticism can often push you that little bit further. Just a sprinkling, mind.
4. Know your market
Obviously this won't be relevant to everyone, but Huda's assertion that "Me! I'm my target customer. I know that sounds crazy but I always want to make products that I'm going to love. Is that selfish? It's true," is essentially another way of ensuring you're obsessive about your market and never stop getting to know them.
5. Move fast and break things
Huda - among others - regard Mark Zuckerberg's famous motto as gospel; a pithy way of articulating the dynamic, disruptive mentality of many a successful start-up. Mark's since changed it to the slightly less catchy, 'Move fast with stable infrastructure,' - he's had a few problems, you may have heard - but there's still something to be said for having a brave, creative and agile attitude to yourself, your company and your career.
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